Negativity...and those who give the rest of us a bad name.
It seems like everywhere I look today on the internet, there are stories of people who claim to be Christians acting completely un-Christlike. I read a long article about an (extreme) fundamentalist group that adopted orphans from Liberia in large numbers, although most of the parents weren't prepared to parent children from tragic backgrounds. Many of these adoptions failed or ended up in bad situations, some in child abuse. To add to it, the adoption agencies they used were mostly ones capitalizing on the sudden spike in interest--and using questionably legal practices.
There was a guy whose public picture shows him with a bumper sticker "Christian and Democrat" who is mentally disturbed and sent poisoned letters to the president and some senator.
I read about "homes for troubled teens" run by a fundamentalist group (I need to go back and check the articles and see if it was the same one that was involved in the adoption craziness) that, in the name of "submission" and "obedience" abused and imprisoned young girls.
One of my favorite websites when I need a laugh is notalwaysright.com; this site and its sister sights are a collection of anecdotes people have sent in. The original site tells stories about times the customer is not always right--and I've learned that there are a lot of crazy people out there and some especially ignorant people. But lately it seems there's been several stories about customers who spot a gay person or couple and start screaming insults at them and insist that they are thrown out of the store for being an abomination and sinful and that God hates them...usually, it ends up with the screamer being thrown out instead, and rightfully so. People like this give the rest of us a bad name... They believe that homosexuality is a sin, but apparently they didn't read the rest of the book--hate, filthy language, treating others badly, anger...these are also sins. Do they honestly think screaming at someone or treating them like filthy animals is going to change them?
I read somewhere--and I don't remember exactly where, so I can't go back and check how credible it was while writing this-- that Westboro Baptist or whatever they are called--you know the ones, they picket soldier's funerals and such--said that the Boston bombing was God's punishment on wicked people, and that they might plan a demonstration soon to that effect...
I was on my favorite quiz site, Sporcle, and I was playing some games in the "religion" section (I usually spend more time in the geography and literature sections) and read the comments--why do people who are antagonistic towards religion even bother going to that part of the site? And why do they have to leave posts insulting believers? They do get voted down for being insulting..but anyone who expresses their faith gets voted down, too. The only way to win popular approval is to be neutral.
And party because of such things, there is a constant flow of derision towards religion in general. Not only towards Christians--the hateful, ignorant, and mean-spirited things people say to and about Muslims makes me sick as well. But I think that because Muslim fundamentalists are seen as crazy terrorists, then Christian fundamentalists must also be crazy extremists, then all Christians, then I see things like "religions cause hate"...where does it end?
I just keep reminding myself of 1 Corinthians 1--that there will always be people who think what others believe is stupid. God's wisdom is higher than those who are wise according to public opinion in our generation. As a person who wants to be thought of as intelligent, being thought stupid is a challenge for me. I know this stuff is out there every day, but I just seem to be overwhelmed by the negativity today.